New Students Guide

Mathematics embodies the spirit of the liberal arts. Mathematics is an art, a pure science, a language and an analytical tool for the natural and social sciences. Statistics is becoming increasingly important in analyzing data in many fields, from biology to computer science to economics. The first-year mathematics curriculum is deliberately flexible. Our intent is to provide appropriate entry points whatever a student's level of preparation.

Most first-year students will begin with a course in our calculus sequence:

Consult the calculus decision tree or visit the Calculus/Statistics Placement page to determine which calculus course.

Math 101: Calculus with Problem Solving. This course provides an introduction to the two fundamental notions of calculus: the derivative and the integral. The five days a week meeting format allows for review of pre-calculus topics as needed. Admission to Math 101 is by placement via Carleton Placement Exam #1 (CP#1) only.  After completion of Math 101 students may enter Math 121.

Math 111: Calculus 1. A first introduction to the calculus that develops the derivative and the integral. Designed for students with little or no previous exposure to calculus. Placement is through CP#1 or CP#2. Upon successful completion of Math 111 students may enter Math 121.

Math 121: Calculus 2.  Integration techniques, improper integrals, the calculus of the exponential, logarithmic, and inverse trigonometric functions, applications, indeterminate forms, Taylor polynomials, infinite series. For students with strong previous exposure to calculus. Successful completion of Math 101 or Math 111, an AP AB score of 4 or 5, or a placement via CP#2 is required. Strongly recommended for natural science majors. Upon completion of Math 121 students may enter Math 211.

Math 211: Calculus 3.  Multivariable Calculus. Develops the calculus in two or more dimensions. Successful completion of Math 121, an AP BC score of 4 or 5, or a placement via CP#3 is required. Upon successful completion of Math 211 students may take Math 232.

If you have completed the calculus sequence consider:

Math 232: Linear Algebra. Topics include linear spaces and linear transformations, eigenvalues, eigenvectors and determinants.

Math 236: Mathematical Structures. An introduction to proof techniques (induction, proof by contradiction) as well as other foundational aspects of mathematics (equivalence relations, cardinality, etc).

Math 265: Probability. An introduction to discrete and continuous probability culminating in the Central Limit Theorem and Law of Large Numbers.

Refer to the Course catalog for a complete description.


There are several entry points into statistics. At the introductory level, we offer:

Math 115 Statistics: Concepts and Applications
Math 215: Introduction to statistics.

See the Intro Stats Guide for more information on how to choose between 115 and 215.

However, if you have completed Calculus through Math 211 (Multivariable Calculus), we encourage you to consider the Probability-Introduction to Statistical Inference sequence (265-275).

If you have received a 4 or 5 on the AP Statistics exam, consider Applied Regression Analysis (Math 245).


If you have questions regarding placement you can email